Electrical brain stimulation improves memory in the elderly

Science Writing, Aug 22 (EFE) .- A new non-invasive method based on electrical brain stimulation improves memory, in the short and long term, in people over 65 years of age, with effects for at least one month, according to a study published today by Nature Neuroscience.

The study carried out with 150 people between 65 and 88 years old supplied the participants, through a cap with electrodes, electric current for 20 minutes in a session for four days.

The volunteers received these sessions in which they listened and remembered five lists of 20 words while the researchers directed the therapy to two specific brain regions: the inferior parietal lobe, which was treated with a frequency of 4 hertz, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex at 60 hertz.

Stimulation of the inferior parietal lobe improved recall of words at the end of the list, indicating storage in working memory, whereas stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex improved recall of words at the beginning, reflecting storage at the beginning of the list. long term.

Those who benefited most from this technique were those with a lower previous cognitive performance, in addition, the improvement was cumulative during the four sessions and the effects lasted at least a month, team leader Robert Reinhart said in a virtual press conference. from the University of Boston (USA).

The researcher highlighted that the effects of the therapy were “moderate to large in a large majority of the participants” and “between 85 and 90%” experienced improvements already during the four stimulation sessions.

More research and testing is still needed to establish whether the observed effects last for more than a month, Reinhart said, adding that this technique could help improve daily activities as the world’s population ages rapidly.

As for side effects, the study’s co-signer, Shrey Grover, said that with these stimulation devices “you don’t experience much” and referred to some itching or sensitivity in the application area for a few seconds, both at the beginning and at the end of the session.

Reinhart recalled that as we get older we become more forgetful, as our memory tends to decrease both in the short and long term and that age is the greatest risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia such as Alzheimer’s.

Neuroscience has made remarkable progress in the last decade characterizing the neural networks of the two types of memory studied and with this new therapy, which has to do with brain plasticity, it is possible to act on very specific parts of the brain involved in the process to remember, he said.

Further research is needed to determine whether these effects may last for more than a month, and whether these specific methods may also improve memory function in individuals with impaired cognition due to brain disorders and in those at risk of dementia.

(c) EFE Agency

Electrical brain stimulation improves memory in the elderly